Book Review: Leaving Town by Lester Thees

Last week was blessedly, wonderfully chaotic! I wish to regale you with some juicy tidbits - and I will. But now that life has mellowed I finally finished my latest book review.

Lester read my review of The Long Drunk and was kind enough to send me a free copy of his book. I love all the options technology has brought to authors!

When I started Leaving Town I was on the fence. As I read I knew a turning point would arrive - it would get really good or go into the crapper. It got really good. Whew! The thought of having to write a less than stellar review when I was given the gift of a free read plopped a lead ball of dread in my gut. The one caveat I have is technical. There are several grammatical flaws. I don't know the ins-and-outs of e-publishing, if there are editors who go over manuscripts, but a different set of trained eyes could have polished this little gem up to a high shine.

Moving on....

Leaving Town revolves around a couple of hapless, luckless guys trying to get out of their dead-end town. There are shoot-outs, an amusing, clever alcoholic detective and a great twist on drug-runner bad guys. The central character is Matt, an under-employed roofer who lives in a crappy apartment. While lamenting whether or not to have a bowl of cereal or commit suicide, his long-time idiot, and morbidly obese friend, Gilbert shows up with a bunch of cash. He admits to being fired from his cook's job and convinces Matt it's time to implement "The Plan". Gilbert dreamt up "The Plan" when they were in high school. When they had enough money, they'd pack up and head out to California "Where money grew like grass and all the women wore bikinis."

The cards are stacked against them from the get-go. They need to get out of town fast because how Gilbert came to the money is illicit, which set the detective on their trail; and Matt's truck starts when it wants to - not ideal for a speedy get-away. They take it to a local, shady mechanic before hitting the road. This is where the book's mark is made and the first domino in the trail of misbegotten mishaps that befalls this unfortunate duo tumbles. It's all downhill for them from here.

The mishap at the garage ensnares them with a pair of violent and vicious criminals who are behind the drug supply in town. They invite themselves along Matt and Gilbert's road trip, but they have a few loose ends to tie up first. This is a euphemism for go on a bloody crime spree, all the while the detective is nipping at their heels. Since Matt and Gilbert are actually hostages, they must participate in these crimes or be killed themselves.

This is a fast-paced tale, with a few surprises and a predictable ending. By that I mean no hokey coincidence occurs to make everything all right. It ends appropriately and satisfactorily. It's also a little lesson to those whose stars have never been aligned just right to stick with what you know.

Thank you, Lester!


Tonight's dinner is brought to you by - drumroll..... Giada de Laurentiis. Shocking, I know. I so rarely use her recipes... A couple of weekends ago I was craving avocados and the ones I had were ripe; and I'd just watched her special about how she put together the menu for the charity polo match that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended. This Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Frico Chips was the answer to my craving. It's actually an appetizer, but the total amount split between two adults made for perfect-sized entrees. I decided to forgo the frico chips portion of it because I didn't feel like making them and I didn't have the silicone thingy for my baking sheet. It's the perfect summer meal!


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